Sunday, July 13, 2008

Free(die) Market Economics

Rarely noted in the current panic over Fannie and Freddie is the role that free market think tanks, conservative editorialists, and Republican politicians played in trying to raise awareness (yes, I'm using the phrase sarcastically) about the dangers and need for reform at the two institutions. From former GOP representative Jim Leach to the WSJ editorial page to the CATO institute, the efforts to expose the corruption and liabilities in Fannie and Freddie were made by the Right. How does the NYT report this? Oh, not by ignoring it, but by reporting it this way:
From 1990 to 2000, as each company’s stock grew more than 500 percent
and top executives earned tens of millions of dollars, much criticism
appeared on opinion pages of newspapers, in reports by free-market
research groups and in Congressional testimony. Much of it was
sponsored by a loose coalition of Washington lobbyists and consultants
who were paid to portray Fannie and Freddie as too big and risky
(Emphasis added.)

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